Friday, 28 December 2007

A brief history of watchmaking - Oriental timepieces

Apart from novelty, the design of Oriental timepieces was more than a challenge to the traditional elegance of Swiss counterparts. Citizen, with its gems and jewellery affiliation, could turn towards machine-made, elegant dress watches. Concentrating on the medium-high price ranges, Citizen and Seiko approached jeweller retailers where the public shopped for advice as well as quality and design.

The new Oriental watch kings learned to alter design quickly, to keep catching trends, recognising that the watch was becoming, like cigarette lighters, a possibly disposable item, or that people would run to owning several different types to match outfits or lifestyle. Casio, for example, changes its designs every six months - some with minor changes only and others with totally new designs. Citizen has something like 3,000 different watches in its Japanese headquarters, explaining that what is popular in one country may not be well received in another.

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